A belated Merry Christmas and best wishes for a Happy New Year!
2009 was a tough year for most of us (decline in home values, stock market drop, unemployment), but we can always find something to be thankful for, right? Here's my list of thankfuls.
- We had no law enforcement, fire department, or EMT interactions. At least not that I know of. And not for lack of trying. Bob did go to jail once, but it was only for the grand opening of a new law enforcement facility for which he did some engineering work.
- Our rodent control program continues to be quite successful thanks to the combined efforts of Moose and Bob. Notable eliminations this year included a possum and a badger.
- Everyone in my family remains financially afloat and I'm the only one on the dole. The VPE index (Val's Paid Employment) continues to underperform versus year ago. Hard to believe, but I haven't found a single job-posting for a Grammar Nazi or "How to Speak Minnesotan" speech coach. On the plus side, I did become quite adept at sock and washcloth knitting and am often now able to put a three-course meal on the table all at once with little or no injury to myself and others.
- Even with our depleted income, we managed to cover the cost of at least 6 unique fishing/hunting licenses and the usual quantities of new gear and ammo. We enjoyed eating a lot of fish, duck, and venison this year, too. Our firearms owned / pounds harvested ratio remains a little higher than I'd like, but since my only contribution was a couple of bass, I won't complain. For those who might be concerned, #2 does NOT overlap with #4!
- Keep an eye on the news for word of the next Illinois government scandal, as I won an uncontested election for Public Library Board Trustee and was sworn in in June. I haven't yet found any opportunity to give out patronage jobs or to take bribes, but this is Illinois, so I'll do my best to uphold our state's historical standards of integrity among government officials. I am pleased to report, however, one important perk in my job: I'm exempt from paying late return fees.
- Our once-25-pound cat, Fat Patrick, is now down to 23 pounds thanks to a rigorous diet and exercise program. Patrick's food was moved upstairs and he is encouraged to run the whole way up the stairs without stopping to rest. We are quite amused at his reaction to the sound of food hitting his dish without human intervention; he can move much more quickly than you would expect given his bulk. In contrast, Muffin Top eats in a Patrick-proof feeding station: a Rubbermaid tub securely fastened to a railing, with a small door cut into one end and the food dish bolted down at the back, out of Patrick-paw reach. Patent pending?
God bless you and keep until we meet again!